Limerick manager John Kiely admitted that Waterford had given his team their toughest test to date in a Munster final the Treaty county eventually won by four points.
The holders and All-Ireland favourites had led by three points at half-time but Waterford levelled upon the restart and even led briefly before Limerick sealed a 0-25 to 0-21 success - considerably tighter than their margins of victory over Clare (13 points) and Tipperary (9).
"It was a really, really tough game," Kiely told RTÉ Sport. "There was only a puck of a ball in it at the end.
"There was a lot of nonsense being talked about the odds on the game, it was ridiculous.
"Waterford are a really well-organised, very well-prepared team and they have been in great form all year long. We're not one bit surprised by the challenge they put up against us today.
Limerick hit eight second-half wides compared to one in the first as the Déise upped the ante after the restart.
"We were probably just under an awful lot more pressure," said Kiely. "When you’re put under pressure like that, you’re going to make mistakes.
"We made handling errors as well today. We just didn’t get into our flow as well as we normally would and that’s all credit to Waterford for disrupting our play."
Kiely has led Limerick to their first back-to-back provincial success since 1981, but his focus immediately turned to atoning for last year's All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Kilkenny, who they could not meet until the final.
"We’re delighted," he said of today's win. "The Munster championship is a really special competition and really special occasion normally as well.
"Unfortunately, it can’t be that occasion that it normally is today but for us it’s a fantastic achievement to have won two Munster championships now.
"We won it the hard way, three matches, so all credit to the boys, they have worked extremely hard.
"We’re in a semi-final and we want to go one step further than last year at least.
"We were really disappointed and hurt after last year’s semi-final defeat. We’ve worked really hard to get to where we are right now. Hopefully we can push on and put in a better performance this time around."
Waterford bainisteoir Liam Cahill said he was "very proud" of his players but admitted they lost momentum late on, having gone into the second water break (53rd minute) level on 0-18 apiece.
"I thought they acquitted themselves well," he said of his team.
"Having said that, we were still a lot bit off where I would have liked us to have been.
"Against opposition like Limerick, you just have to have everything spot on or you’ll end up on the wrong side of it like we did.
"The second water break in particular came at the wrong time for us. We just seemed to be getting a bit of momentum going.
"But we’ve talked about this and always been conscious of making a start after the water break. It’s the same for everyone so we’re not going to go there as regards excuses.
"Whether we need them or not (in November) I don’t really know but they’re there now."
Waterford must now regroup for an all-Munster All-Ireland quarter-final against Tipperary or Clare next weekend.
"We go into the draw tomorrow morning (live on Morning Ireland at 8.35am) and it's either Clare or Tipperary," said Cahill.
"You can see the ferocity of the games over the weekend.
"Nothing easy now so we just have to dust ourselves down, roll up our sleeves and go again."